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One of America's most beloved comedians, Lucille Ball is particularly known for her iconic TV show I Love Lucy.
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Lucille Ball moved to Hollywood and met Cuban-born entertainer Desi Arnaz while working on the film "Dance, Girl, Dance." The pair formed Desilu Productions and soon began their own pioneering television sitcom on CBS, "I Love Lucy."
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In the early 1930s, Ball, who had dyed her chestnut hair blonde, moved to Hollywood to seek out more acting opportunities. Work soon followed, including a stint as one of the 12 "Goldwyn Girls" to promote the 1933 Eddie Cantor flick Roman Candles. She landed a role as an extra in the Ritz Brothers film The Three Musketeers, and then in 1937 earned a sizable part in Stage Door,
All told, Ball would appear in 72 movies during her long career, including a string of second-tier films in the 1940s that garnered her the unofficial title "The Queen of B Movies." One of the earliest ones, a movie called Dance, Girl, Dance, introduced her to a handsome Cuban bandleader named Desi Arnaz. The two appeared together in Ball's next film, Too Many Girls, and before the year was out, the pair fell madly in love and married.
For the careful, career-minded Ball, who had periodically been romantically linked to a series of older men, Arnaz was something completely different: fiery, young (he was just 23 when they met) and with a bit of a reputation as a ladies' man. Friends and colleagues guessed the romance between the apparently mismatched entertainers wouldn't last a year.
But Ball seemed drawn to Arnaz's spark, and while her husband's attention sometimes did stray romantically from the marriage, the truth is that during their 20 years together, Arnaz greatly supported Ball's career hopes.
Still, as the late 1940s rolled around, Ball, who had dyed her hair red in 1942 at MGM's urging, was looking at a stagnant movie career, unable to break into the kinds of starring roles she'd always dreamed about. As a result, Arnaz pushed his wife to try broadcasting, and it wasn't long before Ball landed a lead part in the radio comedy My Favorite Husband. The program caught the attention of CBS executives, who wanted her to recreate something like it on the small screen. Ball, though, insisted it include her real-life husband, something the network clearly wasn't interested in seeing happen. So Ball walked away, and with Desi put together an I Love Lucy–like vaudeville act and took it on the road. Success soon greeted the pair. So did a contract from CBS.
From the get-go Ball and Arnaz knew exactly what they wanted from the network. Their demands included the opportunity to create their new program in Hollywood rather than New York, where most TV was still being shot. But the biggest hurdle centered on the couple's preference to shoot on film rather than the less expensive kinescope. When CBS told them it would cost too much, Ball and Arnaz agreed to take a pay cut. In return they would retain full ownership rights to the program and run it under their newly formed production company, Desilu Productions.
On October 15, 1951, I Love Lucy made its debut, and to the television viewing audience across the country it was immediately apparent this was a sitcom like no other.
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Model and comedienne Lucille Ball met Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz in 1940 while filming Too Many Girls. They fell for one another instantly and eloped later that year. In 1951, they debuted the hit television series I Love Lucy, starring as the zany middle-class couple Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. With near-perfect timing and a genius for ad-libbing, the red-haired Ball cruised through 179 episodes. The duo also founded Desilu Productions in 1950, a successful independent television production company. Ball and Arnaz divorced in 1960, ending one of television's greatest marriages, though they remained friends until his death in 1986.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz 2 people in this group
In the early days of television, actresses of the small screen often reflected the traditional roles of women in society. TV moms of the 1950s managed to keep a tidy home; serve as an attentive ear to family troubles; and have dinner waiting—all while keeping every hair in place. Jane Wyatt epitomized the archetypal housewife and mother on Father Knows Best, while Donna Reed made running a household look easy on The Donna Reed Show. These women, and many more like them, laid the groundwork for future female acting roles, and served as inspiration to the women watching at home.
TV Moms: 1950s 5 people in this group
Did you know that since 1912, nearly 50 million girls in the United States have joined the Girl Scouts? Girl Scouts helped an amazingly diverse array of famous women develop a strong foundation of courage, confidence and character. It's no surprise then that quite a few famous women spent time in the sash. Celebrities who got their start selling cookies and earning merit badges include Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter and actress/writer Carrie Fisher; former first ladies Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Nancy Reagan; Olympic skaters Bonnie Blair and Peggy Fleming; astronaut Sally Ride; and iconic women's rights activist Gloria Steinem. Browse our collection of inspiring famous Girl Scouts who have certainly earned merit badges in their fields.
Girl Scouts 45 people in this group